Club 25 Profile – Scubapro


Founded in 1963 by Gustav Dalla Valle and Dick Bonin, SCUBAPRO is one of the most iconic dive equipment brands. Revered in the 1960s and early 1970s as the Rolls-Royce of scuba diving, SCUBAPRO is famous for being able to withstand just about any sort of abuse while providing high performance without compromise.

The first company to seriously challenge Jacque Couteau’s US Divers’ dominance in the scuba diving industry, SCUBAPRO was initially set up by Healthways (a company which sold bar bells and water skis) as a subsidiary to produce diving gear specifically for professional dive stores, a concept Dick Bonin had pioneered while he was working for Swimaster. A former Submersible Operations Officer with the US Navy SEALS, Bonin was brought in by R&D Director Gustav Dalla Valle to help produce diving gear for SCUBAPRO. In 1962, when Healthways went bankrupt, Gustav bought the rights to the SCUBAPRO name for one dollar and using Gustav’s $20,000 European credit line, Bonin and Dalla Valle engaged the most brilliant engineers they could find to push the R&D department in their new venture to produce the industry’s most cutting edge diving equipment.

In the first two years, SCUBAPRO successfully developed the first reliable piston first stage regulator, which reduced maintenance requirements through its simpler mechanism with less moving parts and produced the high air delivery rate that only a balanced piston can deliver. SCUBAPRO also popularized the Jet Fin invented by Rene Beauchat. SCUBAPRO’s many firsts in the industry – the first flowthrough Mark V piston regulator introduced in 1970, the first low pressure BC (buoyancy compensator) inflator, the first back-mounted BC for widespread distribution, the first silicone mask, the first jacket-style BC, the first pilot valve assisted second stage (Air I), the first integrated inflator/second stage regulator (Air II), the shotgun snorkel with an exhaust valve – made it the leader in the diving equipment industry and Bonin’s unprecedented move of offering a lifetime guarantee on SCUBAPRO equipment made the SCUBAPRO brand synonymous with diving excellence. Bonin’s dedication to personally testing, evaluating and approving every item the company was bringing to market, coupled with their usage of the most brilliant minds in the industry enabled SCUBAPRO to constantly push the envelope to produce the most advanced diving products annually.

Gustav sold his shared to Johnson Worldwide Associates in 1974. The following year, he retired to Napa Valley where he created one of the world’s finest wineries, the Dalla Valle Vineyards. Gustav passed away in 1995. Bonin continued as President and lead the company to continued profitability and growth until 1991 when he retired. Dick Bonin passed away in December 2015.

Today, SCUBAPRO remains the industry’s gold standard for innovation, performance, reliability and durability. For the hobbyist to the professional, SCUBAPRO continues to produce industry-leading regulators, dive computers, BCDs, thermal protection, masks, fins, snorkels, gear bags, scuba accessories and divewear. A Johnson Outdoors Inc company, SCUBAPRO employs more than 400 diving enthusiast in 17 locations spread over 13 countries on four continents.